South West College has engineered further educational success after it was hailed for its innovation in this year’s Apprentice of the Year awards at Hillsborough Castle.
The college, which has been ranked among the educational elite of the UK, scooped the Innovation in Partnership Award for its ground breaking training in the engineering field.
It secured the accolade as a recognition of its excellence and originality in delivering apprenticeship training in conjunction with major firm Terex Powerscreen.
The college’s latest achievement comes a month after a team of education inspectors placed it in the top four best-performing colleges in the UK, and awarded it a grade one inspection report.
In a bid to deliver more astute engineers, South West College has collaborated with representatives from the local engineering industry to identify opportunities for a structured learning and work development initiative that would enable young apprentices to start at shop floor level within a company and progress to higher level roles, through a combination of rotational work and academic qualifications.
As a result of this work, South West College, in conjunction with Terex’s Dungannon site developed the Advanced Technician Apprenticeship programme, which enables school leavers with a strong academic background to enter employment in the engineering industry whilst continuing their academic development at the College – effectively enabling apprentices to ‘earn while they learn.’
Commenting on the award-winning partnership, Alastair Booth, Curriculum Manager for Engineering, South West College said:
“We are thrilled to receive this accolade and to have been recognised for our successful efforts with Terex Powerscreen to develop an innovative training programme that produces a high calibre of apprentices to the benefit of local industry.
“The level of support from Terex has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to further developing this mutually beneficial relationship.”
Michael O’Neill, Screening Engineering Manager at Terex said: “Working with South West College to deliver the Advanced Technician Apprenticeship programme has enabled our company to grow our workforce to facilitate current and future business needs.
“Ultimately the hands-on knowledge gained through the NVQ Level 2 and 3, the academic
qualifications of the BTEC and Foundation Degree, as well as the work experience and learning factor, offer school leavers an attractive and alternative route for an exciting and challenging career in the engineering industry.”
Speaking about the sustainability of the partnership, Karen Green, HR Advisor at Terex added: “Our Dungannon site currently employs seven of the College’s apprentices within our Design, Manufacturing and Service departments and in the coming months we hope to recruit additional apprentices for both the Terex sites in Dungannon and Omagh.”
In addition to the Advanced Technician Apprenticeships programme, South West College has worked closely with Terex Powerscreen to develop an industry standard crushing and screening training lab at the College’s Dungannon Campus.
This new training facility provides an excellent resource to train and develop high level maintenance personnel in the crushing and screening sector and it will also be used to extend the Advanced Technician Apprenticeship, specialising in crushing and screening maintenance.
Terex is also supporting a number of their engineers who are undertaking the Foundation Degree in Engineering at South West College.